The clubhouse has been blocked in Oman due to lack of permission, but some censorship out of fear

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Oman blocked the US audio app Clubhouse on Sunday because it did not have the right permission, authorities said, but some activists described the move as a further erosion of freedom of expression in the Gulf state.

The government did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but the telecoms the regulator said WAF website for news that the application has been blocked due to “lack of proper permission”.

“Such communications applications must be authorized by the authority,” said the Omani Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.

Oman_blocks_Club house was on trend on social media in Oman on Sunday. Many Omanis share screenshots of the application showing an “error message”.

“The Omani government accepts China’s authoritarian government as a role model and bans … The clubhouse used by Omani as a space for free expression of their views without government censorship,” the Omani Human Rights Association said in a statement. .

Access to the Clubhouse was blocked in China last month.

The San Francisco-based app, launched in early 2020, saw global user numbers rise after that Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Robin Hood CEO Vlad Tenev conducted a surprise discussion on the platform.

The app is popular in Arab countries, where the media is directly controlled by governments and commentators risk being shut down for critical opinions.

The clubhouse faces criticism elsewhere for reports of misogyny, anti-Semitism and COVID-19 misinformation on the platform despite anti-racism rules, hate speech, abuse and misinformation.

The app said it invests in tools to detect and prevent abuse, as well as features for users who can set rules for their rooms to moderate conversations.

“I hope that the shutdown of the Clubhouse app in Oman is the result of technical problems and not an official ban,” Omani writer Zakaria al-Muharmi wrote on Twitter.

“Preventing people from speaking and listening to others does not protect societies, but rather increases tensions and pushes them into the abyss of chaos and confrontation.”

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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